Leandro beams at Eliva. "Truer words were never spoken, noble lady. The gods seem far from this place. It is our duty to bring them nearer and help these pour souls find beauty in their lives."
Leandro looks around town for a posting pole or any other sort of board that displays public notices to catch up on current events. He'll also schmooze folks at the market and tavern to find out all he can about the road to Mortigny and its dangers, buying a few ales as needed.
Diplomacy to gather info: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (5) + 11 = 16
He also seeks a gentle mount for Sister Ceclie - a good-natured donkey or pony to spare her the rigors of the road, if one is available in town. He definitely picks up another five days of trail rations.
"Lady Eliva, there is something on your shoulder. Shall I brush it off?" He peers at the owl with some curiosity and a small smile. "Handsome indeed. You have a knack with animals, it seems. What is his... her... name?"
There is no problem procuring any of the things you seek. There are no real magic items here to speak of, although from what you have heard of Mortigny, it is a larger city with a broader array of goods available. Angalia, you could buy a cold iron dagger here, I think.
Speaking of which, there was a silver longsword. Did someone take that? I've been dropping silver weapons here and there in this campaign for good reason...
Sister Cecile will be driving her cart, so she does not need another mount.
Eliva finds a lovely owl which comes as if drawn to her.
You are able to gather that the road can be dangerous. It passes through the wilderness, and folk talk about people who have set out on the road and not returned. When merchants or travelers must go that way, they do so in a large caravan with guards, as traveling alone can be perilous.
The villagers try not to venture out of the village if they can help it, as terrible things prowl in the dark.
When the group gathers to head back, Leandro tells them what he has learned. "It is well we accompany the sick ones on this road, for it is a troubled one and they will need guards. I do not know if the dangers are monstrous or simply hungry people. Many crimes are for theft of food from Her Ladyship's stores - whoever 'Her Ladyship' is." He shakes his head. "Whatever the case, I will watch again tonight against the things in the dark."
When Leandro mentions "Her Ladyship", Res perks up. "I was able to find out some information about 'Her Ladyship' when I was in town. The ruler of this land is Lady Ivana Boritsi. I'm not surprised that people are thieving from her. The aristocracy of Borca is notoriously corrupt. They tax the population into poverty so that they may live in luxury. 'Her Ladyship' seems to be the epitome of this, living an extravagant lifestyle, residing in a sprawling estate and throwing lavish parties for her wealthy friends. Also, there are rumors that some among the aristocracy are more than they seem, either being creatures of darkness themselves or being closely allied with such. After we defeated Spindle in the fun house, we found a note from someone who is plotting against the Borca and Falkovnia governments. Given what I have seen and heard, I'd say this is a good thing, however, there means of subversion are just as perverse. They were developing the laughing plaque and testing it here on innocent people. You, yourself were a victim of their testing."
Res digs in is bag and pulls out the note from T. and shows it to Leandro.
Most Magnificent Master of Jesters,
Most sincerely, I trust this letter finds you well. Word reaches me of your wondrous deeds in pursuit of our common cause. Such tidings evince the propriety of our mutual arrangement to such a degree as to at once embolden my efforts and silence my ever prosaic detractors. My kin among the court of Borca with their subtle arts continue to suppress any inclination among the rulership to interfere in the safe conduct of your affairs.
Whilst these earliest stages of the laughing plague show promise, I urge you to hasten your progress in spreading your gift among the gathered Falkovnian infantry. The witless Lord Vlad has superiority in numbers which must be culled if our efforts are to bear fruit.
Though I have no doubt that you have found great sustenance in the execution of your enterprise, you may be assured that your rewards upon completion of our venture will befit one of your wondrous character. Both my kin and our allies to the west look with favor on your role within this undertaking and are prepared to compensate your efforts with a suitable share in the spoils of our campaign.
I eagerly await your next communication, as your correspondence never fails to bring me great delight. Yours, as ever,
Leandro's handsome face darkens as he hears Res' story and even more as he reads the note.
"Monstrous! Games between demons and devils, poor people caught between them, and we of goodwill are nearly helpless to stop it. I fear your heroism in ending this plague may bring unwelcome attention to your band, Sir Thannq. We must be certain Sister Cecile moves along tomorrow as planned, for your sake. You do not want the attention of the highest in this land if they truly are creatures of darkness, not if you want to be free to find the vile abductor of women."
The PCs are able to spend another night peacefully before meeting up with Sister Cecile in the morning. She has loaded her cart and is ready to travel.
Accompanying her are some patients:
Yuri, the young animal keeper at the carnival, is noticeably recovering from his brush with death. He has become more alert and talkative with each passing day.
Erfan, your erstwhile companion, is still rather non-responsive. He seems to take interest in the most minute things as if they fascinate him and is unable to carry on a conversation about ordinary things.
Olga, a young farmgirl, is the last survivor of her family, the rest of whom perished from the plague. She has a wistful look and does not speak, but hums quietly to herself most of the time.
Ilyich, an elderly man, has a wide-eyed, panicked look. He seems to respond to horrors around him that are not there.
In addition, she plans on bringing Sergei with her to treat for his delusional paranoia. Sister Cecile is not all that concerned with justice or law and just sees a patient to treat. Unless you put your foot down in some way, she plans on taking him to the hospital.
When you arrive to meet her, you also see that Andrei, your former guide, has shown up for travel. He feels that it was a mistake to tarry in Borca rather than immediately continuing on to join his cousin on the farm in Richemulot. He has asked Sister Cecile if he can accompany all of you, as the road is too dangerous for him to travel alone.
Urdrin seems increasingly distracted, and incredibly focused on the well-being of Sister Cecile, her patients, and Erfan in particular.
Leandro assists with the loading of the wagon and getting the patients ready for the trek wherever he can be helpful. He asks the Sister if he can set his pack on the cart for the journey.
Leandro wears his holy symbol and cestus, slings his bow and arrows, and carries his glaive in hand. 20' speed shouldn't be a problem for accompanying a cart, should it? What's the weather/temp like here?
"The miscreant should be delivered for justice, but does not act right. It does not seem fair to have him stand trial for crimes when he is incapable of defending himself. It would be like attacking an unarmed opponent - such things are not done. If the Sisters can restore his mind, he can answer for his crimes then, I think."
Tif tries to help the patients to the best of her abilities, taking a special interest in Olga. She tries her best to connect with the child, showing her some stage magic to help pass the time if the girl shows interest. She shows a marked displeasure in Sergei's pressence, but tries to avoid sharing her feelings to openly.
Sleight of Hand:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
Diplomacy:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
For traveling she has dressed in her Holy vestments, seeming much like a nun of generic faith.
Angalia makes no changes to her traveling garb, but spends some time talking to Yuri, for whom she feels responsible. She is happy to see Andrei again as well.
As far as Sergei is concerned, she agrees with Leandro.
"Whatever he's done, he can't provide any useful information in this state."
She looks wistfully at Urdin and Erfan, unable to reach the gnome, but hoping that Urdin can.
The party sets out on the road westward. Sister Cecile drives her cart, while her patients variously travel on foot or ride in the back. The progress is slow, and Sister Cecile stops frequently to water the donkey and to allow those in her care to rest.
The road winds its way through the fields of Borca. As before, many are abandoned and lie fallow, marked by the occasional rusted plow slowly overtaken by the elements and the passage of time. The familiar ramshackle farmhouses become less and less frequent. Eventually, the fields are replaced by a sparse forest that encroaches upon the dirt road. Still, while daylight holds, all is quiet.
Sister Cecile passes the time chatting about her order. The hospital in Mortigny is run by her and three other sisters, although they have only been in residence there for about four years. Prior to that time, the hospital was run by a deranged physician who performed unspeakable cruelties upon those in his care. Eventually his own patients rose and up and tore him limb from limb. Still, there was a need in the region for a place to care for those whose minds were afflicted, and the Sisters took over the operation of the hospital, making it everything it ought to have been in the first place. Rumors persist that the place is haunted, and even Sister Cecile concedes that there are abandoned portions of the hospital that she does not enter.
Olga’s eyes seem to suggest she is entertained by Tiffana’s efforts, although she continues to say nothing, humming quietly to herself.
As the group travels, Res makes his way toward Leandro. "I noticed earlier that you bear Shelyn's holy symbol. It is good to come across another man of faith in this land. Eliva worships Erastil and I am a cleric of Gorum. Though we each serve a different God, she and I have respected each other's faith and even supported each other when this land tried to test our faith. Be secure in the knowledge that we will extend the same support to you."
Leandro places his hand flat over the holy symbol on his breast and bows slightly to Res as they walk, a little of the ever-present tension easing from around his eyes at Res' kind words. "Sir Thannq, you and Lady Eliva have my thanks. My devotion to the Rose Eternal does not lessen my esteem of the Stag God or the Lord in Iron. My heart is eased by your faith and support, and I pledge myself to support you as well. Men of goodwill must stand united against the darkness in this land, is it not so?"
EDIT: I posted about the same time as you did Leandro. My response below reflects your question from Friday afternoon.
Res answers, "Yes indeed. Truer words have never been spoken in this god-foresaken land. And I use that term to describe this land in its most literal form. Keep the faith, Leandro, together we will bring goodness to this land yet."
Res turns back to Angalia, "Remember that abandoned hut when we first arrived. It too was troubled by a tortured spirit until we found the child's doll and gave it a proper burial and thus freed the spirit to continue its journey to Pharasma. I think between Eliva, Leandro and my faith, and Nathaniel, Tiffana, Urdin, and your skills we can investigate and end the haunts plaguing the hospital."
I know eventually Urdrin will be going his separate way, but until that happens, Res will include him in discussions about the future.
No prob, deleted extraneous post and rearranged some.
"That would be a most worthy cause, my friends, to give the Sisters a place of peace and holiness from which to work. In the meantime, we must think of getting them there safely. How shall we set up camp and watch? We must be secure before the sun sets, according to the villagers." He points to the lowering sun.
"Very good idea. Let's set up watches in pairs. I prefer to take the last watch such that I may also use that time to meditate. You and Eliva could take the first watch, Nathaniel and Angalia could take the second watch and Tiffana and I could take the third watch. Urdrin seems to be focused on Erfan, perhaps we should not trouble him."
As the sun begins to set, a thin fog settles over the road. The air is damp and chill. By now, the forest has grown thicker and provides little visibility beyond the road.
After a time, you spot a clearing off the roadside which seems dry and flat. You estimate you have travelled a little over 10 miles today, and Sister Cecile is pleased with that progress, stating you are quite on schedule.
What preparations are you making for the camp? Sister Cecile is inclined to build a fire and pass around some food.
Also clarifying: 1st watch Leandro and Eliva, 2nd watch Nathaniel and Angalia, 3rd watch Tiffana and Res.
Leandro cheerfully aids in setting up camp. He suggests they have two fires, one at each of the east and west compass points, and have the watchers patrol the north and south (if the entire camp fits within the light, that is - more may be needed otherwise_
Res: You do not spot any dangers in the area.
You build a suitable fire and are able to share a warm meal. Sister Cecile maintains her good spirits, but you can see that this is largely a show for her patients. She is naturally anxious about being out in the wild at night and is alert to the dangers, much as all of you are.
Yuri and Andrei have struck up a discussion and are swapping stories about ill-tempered animals that have been in their care.
Olga sits staring off into the darkness. She takes some food, but scarcely acknolwedges those around her, while Ilyich and Sergei sit in the relative safety of the cart.
When you have eaten, Sister Cecile recommends getting plenty of rest, as another day of travel lies ahead.
Feel free to post anything else that you are doing. I would also like Perception checks from everybody in advance for your respective watches.
Leandro eats hurriedly as the sun sets, growing noticeably tenser as darkness falls. As soon as he finishes eating, he takes up patrol along the northern edge of camp, fully armored and glaive in hand. He eschews campfire socialization.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 12
"I am happy to take any watch where I may be of use," Eliva said as the party set up camp, "but I am probaly most useful in the dead of night, when my ability to see in the darkest conditions might be useful." Eliva looked around at the forest. "I think I will scout around and look for a couple nice places to lay traps or a likely tree to watch both the camp and signs for wildlife from. Some fresh meat will be welcome, I think, though we resupplied nicely in town."
Eliva would like to set up traps on game trails or watering holes she finds nearby - probably no more than 2 of them - and then find a tree on the southern side of the camp where she can keep an eye out for game and watch the party.
Perception:1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
Survival (for hunting/traps): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14 (let me know if something else would be more appropriate to roll!)
Stealth (just in case! She's hunting, so she'll stay stealthy - though she'll let Leandro know where she is before she hides in the tree): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15
Ouch! Not that stealthy after all!
1d3 ⇒ 1 Stealth 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12 Wow that's a bad roll.
The camp settles down for the night as the fog thickens, its cool tendrils held back only by the weak flames of your fires. The party sets down for an uneasy sleep as Eliva and Leandro keep watch.
Shortly after the group settles into sleep, Eliva hears movement in the woods to the north and detects a faint odor of decay. Leandro, too, hears something faintly, although his senses are not as adept as Eliva's at pinpointing its source.
Initiative from everybody please. Eliva and Leandro are not surprised (remarkably, as poor as Leandro's Perception roll was, the foes botched their Stealth.)
Right now, you are only aware that there is something in the woods. You do not know what or who they are or what they want. I am bringing initiative into the equation to be proactive.
Foes' initiative 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Eliva peers into the darkness, trying to see and identify what approaches.
Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Pereption: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13
Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31 (identify monster. +10 instead of 11 if these are corpse constructs for the knowledge (arcana))
She draws her bow tight as she watches the approach of their enemies, readying an arrow.
If her knowledge confirms them to be undead or constructs, she will yell to wake her companions and loose an arrow.
Attack:1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11 (+1 if within 30')
Damage:1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 (+1 if within 30')
That is a round of TERRIBLE rolls.
Initiative: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Leandro moves towards Eliva, trying to stay between the noise and the party. "You hear it too?" he whispers, readying his glaive to strike.
When we can act, Leandro would move north past the other party members, nudging them with a foot as he goes to try to wake them. Not sure what action you would want for the nudges. He moves at 20'.
Leandro is not speedy in his heavy armor and a surprise round is only half a round. I doubt he'll be able to get farther than Res. Besides, it may be nothing. A rabbit, a fox. No point waking up people needlessly. The last thing we need is panic among the patients.
The creatures move in closer toward the camp, dashing quickly like beasts through the fog-shrouded undergrowth. Eliva identifies them by odor before she can even properly see them.
Eliva's arrow fails to make contact with the quickly moving targets. Leandro makes his way quickly across the clearing, kicking at Res with his foot.
Based on Leandro's speed, he can get past Res, but not past anybody else. Melee or shouting will wake those who are sleeping.
The creatures used the surprise round to move closer.
I will play Nathaniel for now.
Nathaniel 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Urdrin 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Sister Cecile 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Those are the only NPCs who can participate in any meaningful way.
Sister Cecile (asleep)
Knowledge(religion): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
to identify the critters. if it can be done by smell. Hey, not too shabby! Leandro's more than just a pretty face.
"Noises in the woods," Leandro mutters to Res in response to Res' question, "Could be trouble."
Leandro: Read Eliva's spoiler above.
The undead things close in on the camp. Their rotting flesh gives off a nauseating odor of decay, but does not seem to hinder their movements in the lease. They dart about with the ease of predatory hunters. Their claws and jagged teeth drip vile fluid as they look about the camp with the eye of a hungry man at a feast.
Two of them close upon Eliva, swiping at her with their jagged claws.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
One of them catches flesh. 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4 damage.
Eliva, DC 15 Fort save vs the Stench. If you fail you are sickened for 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 minutes. A second DC 15 Fort save vs Paralysis for the one that hit you, or paralyzed for 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 rounds.
Two others emerge into the camp and size up their prey.
Leandro, you are within range of the stench of number 4. DC 15 Fort save or you are sickened for 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10 minutes.
The commotion is enough to wake up those who still sleep.
Tiffana and Res are up. You are both prone at the start of your turns.
Sister Cecile (prone)
Eliva (roll 2 saves)
Leandro (roll 1 save)
Based on Leandro's speed, he can get past Res, but not past anybody else. Melee or shouting will wake those who are sleeping.
FYI, I typed that if Eliva realizes the enemies are undead or constructs, she would shout to wake her companions.
Eliva shouted out "Undead! They attack the camp!" as she recognized the foul creatures attacking.
Is Eliva not up in a tree after all?
Fort vs Paralyze: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Fort vs Stench: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
NOTE: I posted this on a duplicate post, and failed the fort save vs paralyze, if you'd rather have that count.
Res at Leandro's urging stands up and sees the creatures attacking. He tries to identify them Knowledge(Religion): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16. "Bah, I knew I should have slept in my armor." He pulls out his holy symbol and casts Shield of Faith on himself.
Eliva: Hrm. Somehow I missed some of those details in your post. I'd be happy to let Angalia take an action based on your shout during the surprise round.
The tree is a trickier matter. Not only did I miss that, but I put you in the north instead of the south. How high up in the tree did you intend to be?